General Manuel B. Tinio

Youngest General of the Filipino Revolutionary Army

by Herman De Guzman
January 01, 2024

Manuel Bondoc Tinio was the youngest general of the Filipino Revolutionary Army and led the liberation of the provinces in Northern Luzon from the hands of the Spanish.

He was born on 7 June 1877 in Licab, Aliaga, Nueva Ecija to Mariano Tinio and Silveria Misadsad Bundoc. He has three sisters. The Tinio clan has Chino blood and is one of the cleanest families in Central Luzon.

He graduated from secondary school at Colegio de San Juan de Letran in 1898. That same year, he joined the Katipunan. At the age of 19 he was appointed general of the rebel army. He was one of the companions of General Emilio Aguinaldo when he was exiled to Hong Kong in 1897 and remained there until the outbreak of the Filipino-American War.

In April 1896 at the age of 18, his military career began under the “Katipunan” by organizing a group of young guerillas to fight the Spaniards in Nueva Ecija. He eventually made the rank of Captain during his time with Gen. Mariano Llanera’s forces. His energy and natural leadership gave him notoriety as an aggressively effective officer and was quickly promoted from the rank of Captain to Colonel in just one year.

By 1897, Gen. Mamerto Natividad’s forces, where then Col. Manuel Tinio served under, begun a guerrilla campaign against the Spaniards. Regrettably, Gen. Natividad was killed in action in Entablado, Cabiao. Colonel Tinio was then promoted to Brigadier General to take command of Gen. Natividad’s guerrilla forces. This made Gen. Manuel Tinio the youngest General who served in the Philippine military at the age of 20 years old. He then went to exile in Hong Kong with Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s command in 1897.

The Filipino revolutionaries went back home in 1898 in parallel with the United States armed forces to finally defeat the Spanish forces in the Philippines. Gen. Tinio’s forces, the famed Tinio Brigade, effectively liberated Ilocos from the Spaniards after a 30-day campaign. His Nueva Ecija-Ilocos campaign resulted in the capture of 3,000 Spanish prisoners of war.

In 1899, the Philippine-American War erupted. Notable engagements by Gen. Tinio during the war was centralized in Nueva Ecija and Ilocos. Gen. Manuel Tinio installed defenses for various important locations in La Union to Ilocos Norte. A total of 636 entrenchments and defense structures were built to counter the oncoming American invasion. From 1899 to 1901, the almost 2,000 strong Tinio Brigade saw action against the United States armed forces.

On July 2, 1902, the Philippine-American War ended after three years, with the capture and surrender of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo on March 23, 1901. On April 19, 1901, Gen. Aguinaldo called for the end of hostilities and the surrender of all Filipino armed forces. Gen. Manuel Tinio followed the order and surrendered on April 29, 1901--he was only 23 years old. After the war, he became a politician and a businessman; at the age of 46, Gen. Manuel Tinio succumbed to illness. He was laid to final rest in Cabanatuan on March 2, 1924.

He died of liver disease on February 22, 1924 and was buried in Cabanatuan. He is related to the National Scholar of Arts for Literature Rolando Santos Tinio, as well as the athlete Beatriz "Bea" Lucero. (PKJ) (ed VSA)

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